Kansas Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, facing a tough battle for re-election, warns that the United States is heading for "national socialism."
"There's a palpable fear among Kansans all across the state that the America that we love and cherish and honor will not be the same America for our kids and grandkids, and that's wrong, that's very wrong," Roberts said at a Dodge City campaign stop Monday, according to a video posted on the YouTube account of the Democratic opposition research group American Bridge.
Story continues below video.
"As a result, people unfortunately are losing faith in their government. And turn it around, government is losing faith in our people. That is a bad situation," he added.
"One of the reasons that I'm running is to change that. There's an easy way to do it. I'll let you figure it out. But at any rate, we have to change course because our country is headed for national socialism. That's not right. It's changing our culture. It's changing what we're all about."
The full name of Germany's Nazi Party was the National Socialist German Workers' Party, but it's not clear whether Roberts intended to make a reference to Nazism or to socialism in general.
Washington Post political correspondent Philip Rucker tweeted Tuesday that the incumbent repeated the assertion earlier in the day.
poll has shown independent Greg Orman leading by 5 percentage points in the increasingly tight race.
Roberts appeared at the campaign stop with former Sen. Bob Dole, known for his moderate voting record and bipartisan deal-making as a former Senate GOP leader, Politico
notes. But invoking socialism is more likely to appeal to the conservative base.
reports that conservatives are still angry with Roberts for campaign tactics during the primary, when said his opponent, radiologist Milton Wolf, was dishonest and unethical.
"The biggest issue that Roberts has is the conservatives are turning their backs on him," Steve Shute, a state delegate and tea party leader, told The Hill.
"If this doesn't get fixed in the next month or so, there's a real chance that Kansas could turn blue."
Roberts has been reaching out to conservatives to try to smooth things over, The Hill reports. But it's an uphill battle.
"I don't think the conservative grassroots in Kansas can be any madder than it is now. I don't know if there's the possibility for a reconciliation," Shute told The Hill.
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